War With Russia: Two Great American Myths
There are two myths which are deeply imprinted in the minds of most US Americans which are extremely dangerous and which can result in a war with Russia.
The first myth is the myth of US military superiority.
The second myth is the myth of US invulnerability.
I believe that it is therefore crucial to debunk these myths before they end up costing us millions of lives and untold suffering.
In my latest piece for the Unz Review I discussed the reasons why the US armed forces are nowhere nearly as advanced as the US propaganda machine would have us believe. And even though the article was a discussion of Russian military technologies I only gave one example, in passing, of Russian military technologies by comparing the T-50 PAKFA to the US F-35 (if you want to truly get a feel for the F-35 disaster, please read this and this). First, I am generally reluctant to focus on weapons systems because I strongly believe that, in the vast majority of real-world wars, tactics are far more important than technologies. Second, Andrei Martyanov, an expert on Russian military issues and naval warfare, has recently written two excellent pieces on Russian military technologies (see here and here) which gave many more examples (check out Martyanov’s blog). Having read some of the comments posted under Martyanov’s and my articles, I think that it is important, crucial, in fact, to drive home the message to those who still are thoroughly trained by the propaganda machine to instantly dismiss any notion of US vulnerability or, even more so, technological inferiority. I am under no illusion about the capability of those who still watch the idiot box to be woken out of their lethargic stupor by the warnings of Paul Craig Roberts, William Engdal, Dmitrii Orlov, Andrei Martyanov or myself. But I also think that we have to keep trying, because the war party (the Neocon Uniparty) is apparently trying really hard to trigger a conflict with Russia. So what I propose to do today is to connect the notions of “war with Russia” and “immediate and personal suffering” by showing that if Russia is attacked two of the most sacred symbols of the US, aircraft carriers and the US mainland itself, would be immediately attacked and destroyed.
The aircraft carriers myth
I have to confess that even during the Cold War I always saw US aircraft carriers as sitting ducks which the Soviets would have rather easily destroyed. I formed that opinion on the basis of my study of Soviet anti-carrier tactics and on the basis of conversations with friends (fellow students) who actually served on US aircraft carriers.
I wish I had the time and space to go into a detailed description of what a Cold War era Soviet attack on a US aircraft carrier battle group would typically look like, but all I will say is that it would have involved swarms of heavy air and sea launched missiles coming from different directions, some skimming the waves, others dropping down from very high altitude, all at tremendous speeds, combined with more underwater-launched missiles and even torpedoes. All of these missiles would be “intelligent” and networked with each other: they would be sharing sensor data, allocating targets (to avoid duplication), using countermeasures, receiving course corrections, etc. These missiles would be launched at standoff distances by supersonic bombers or by submerged submarines. The targeting would involve space-based satellites and advanced naval reconnaissance technologies. My USN friends were acutely aware of all this and they were laughing at their own official US propaganda (Reagan was in power then) which claimed that the USN would “bring the war to the Russians” by forward deploying carriers. In direct contrast, my friends all told me that the first thing the USN would do is immediately flush all the carriers away from the North Atlantic and into the much safer waters south of the so-called GUIK gap. So here is the ugly truth: carriers are designed to enforce the rule of the AngloZionist Empire on small and basically defenseless nations (like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq). Nobody in the USN, at least not in the late 1980s, seriously considered forward deploying aircraft carrier battlegroups near the Kola Peninsula to “bring the war to the Russians”. That was pure propaganda. The public did not know that, but USN personnel all knew the truth.
[Sidebar: if the topic of carrier survivability is of interest to you, please check out this Russian article translated by a member of our community which is a pretty typical example of how the Russian don’t believe for one second that US carriers are such hard targets to destroy]
What was true then is even more true today and I can’t imagine anybody at the Pentagon seriously making plans to attack Russia with carrier based aviation. But even if the USN has no intention of using its carriers against Russia, that does not mean that the Russians cannot actively seek out US carriers and destroy them, even very far from Russia. After all, even if they are completely outdated for a war between superpowers, carriers still represent fantastically expensive targets whose symbolic value remains immense. The truth is that US carriers are the most lucrative target any enemy could hope for: (relatively) small, (relatively) easy to destroy, distributed in many locations around the globe – US carriers are almost “pieces of the US, only much closer”.
Introducing the Zircon 3M22 hypersonic missile
First, some basic data about this missile (from English and Russian Wikipedia):
- Low level range: 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311mi; 250 to 500km).
- High level range: 400nmi (460mi; 740km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory.
- Max range: 540nmi (620mi; 1,000km)
- Max altitude: 40km (130,000 feet)
- Average range is around 400km (250mi; 220nmi)/450 km.
- Speed: Mach 5–Mach 6 (3,806–4,567mph; 6,125–7,350km/h; 1.7015–2.0417km/s).
- Max speed: Mach 8 (6,090mph; 9,800km/h; 2.7223km/s) during a test.
- Warhead: 300-400kg (high explosive or nuclear)
- Shape: low-RCS with radar absorbing coating.
- Cost per missile: 1-2 million dollars (depending on configuration)
All this is already very impressive, but here comes the single most important fact about this missile: it can be launched from pretty much *any* platform: cruisers, of course, but also frigates and even small corvettes. It can be launched by nuclear and diesel-electric attack submarines. It can also be launched from long range bombers (Tu-160), medium-range bombers (Tu-22m3), medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft (SU-34) and even, according to some reports, from a multi-role air superiority fighter (SU-35). Finally, this missile can also be shore-based. In fact, this missile can be launched from any platform capable of launching the now famous Kalibr cruise missile and that means that even a merchant marine or fishing ship could carry a container with the Zircon missile hidden inside. In plain English what this means is the following:
- Russia has a missile which cannot be stopped or spoofed by any of the current and foreseeable USN anti-missile weapons systems.
- This missile can be deployed *anywhere* in the world on *any* platform.
Let me repeat this again: pretty much any Russian ship and pretty much any Russian aircraft from now on will have the potential capability of sinking a US aircraft carrier. In the past, such capabilities were limited to specific ships (Slava class), submarines (Oscar class) or aircraft (Backfires). The Soviets had a large but limited supply of such platforms and they were limited on where they could deploy them. This era is now over. From now on a swarm of Zircon 3M22 could appear anywhere on the planet at any moment and with no warning time (5000 miles per hour incoming speed does not leave the target anything remotely comparable to even a short reaction time). In fact, the attack could be so rapid that it might not even leave the target the time needed to indicate that it is under attack.
None of the above is a big secret, by the way. Just place “zircon missile” in your favorite search engine and you will get a lot of hits (131,000 on Google; 190,000 on Bing). In fact, a lot of specialists have declared that the Zircon marks the end of the aircraft carrier as a platform of modern warfare. These claims are widely exaggerated. As I have written above, aircraft carriers are ideal tools to terrify, threaten, bully and otherwise attack small, defenseless countries. Even medium-sized countries would have a very hard time dealing with an attack coming from US aircraft carriers. So I personally think that as long as the world continues to use the US dollar and, therefore, as long as the US economy continues to reply on creating money out of thin air and spending it like there is no tomorrow, aircraft carriers still have a bright, if morally repulsive, future ahead of them. And, of course,
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